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Göttingen, this is internationally not a city that enjoys a great reputation. And yet this city attracts students from all over the world. Once me, too, when I was young and eager to do “something with the media” and then got to know and love the theater. Göttingen has shaped me a bit and made me the woman at the dinner parties, who can recite all sorts of things, because during my study time I read there 1000 pages minimum per week. German philology there is taken very seriously and also the lawyers, with whom I lived several years in the dormitory directly on the campus.
The city in the heart of Germany attracts so many and so you are shoulder to shoulder with many Bavarian, Hamburger or Rhinelander, goes together with people from all over the world in one of the various cafeterias. The Göttingen campus is not pretty, but full of life and stories. Every building has its little secrets, every street in Göttingen has its own insider tips. And unfortunately I can only introduce you to a fraction of it …
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CORNERS
The Old Botanical Garden used to be my haven of peace (when the weather was good). Directly and centrally at the beginning of the city center, the high walls protect against street noise and offer time to listen to the frogs in the pond. If the weather is not good, there are also wonderful historic greenhouses such as the Fern House, where you can dive into deep green and wet tropical air at any time of the year. Even the small, but fine Café Botanic invites you to enjoy a delicious chai tea inside and out, whatever the weather.
The old Wall of the City also invites to a nice walk around the heart of Göttingen. Here you can stroll past a watermill and experience the beautiful half-timbered houses from a completely different angle. On the tour around the old city wall you also pass Bismarkhäuschen, the last surviving part of the medieval fortification ring.
The Schillerwiesen are a popular destination on warm days, where you can find many picnics and events often take place.
If you are not busy with walking around the city wall, I recommend a walk from the train station to the Bismarkturm. The astronomical path accompanies you on this way with models of the planets in true to scale distance from the sun. There you have a nice view over Göttingen. And there is also the Kiessee – a nice lake to take a walk in the middle of the green nature. It feels a little bit like being in Sweden.
THE OLD TOWN
In the middle of the old town hall is the landmark of the university town: The Gänselliesl. What a terrifyingly little amount of people know is that this Gänselliesl is not the only one of its kind, because other cities like Stuttgart, Vienna or Hanover on the Steintorplatz. If you want to visit the original Gänselliesl from 1901, you will find them in the Municipal Museum. But even the current on the square in the city center is a much sought-after personality and is, according to sources Göttingen as the most kissed woman in the world. Almost daily you can experience how a fresh doctor went to Gänseliesl after completing his doctorate and allowed to kiss the young woman. Although a kiss ban was abandoned in 1926, this did not bother the students further. Meanwhile, this ban was lifted again.
Anyone who is a friend of horror stories and visits Göttingen in December, I give the tip: in the theater in the OP “Gänsehaut-Liesl” takes place year after year, told and played by Götz Lautenbach, my former lecturer for Scenic writing and theater work at the University of Göttingen, which is also staged and can currently be seen in several plays in the Junge Theater.
Back to the city center, because directly at the Old Town Hall is also the rather inconspicuous, but still very spectacular Vierkirchenblick. From there you can see four of the numerous churches that are spread over the entire city center. Among other things, there would be the St. Albani Church, the oldest church in the city and the Jacobi Church, which once adorned the 10-mark bill. We will come to St. John’s Church later in this article. Last but not least, St. Michael, renovated a few years ago, is the only Catholic church in the city walls.
A visual highlight for those of you on a photo safari is the Paulinerstraße, a well-preserved half-timbered street, which is just magical in the summer with blooming roses and looks like something from another time.
A nice place to relax is always the Chaltenham Park on the edge of the city wall. Not only do all those with snow enthusiasm sled the wall runner in the winter, but it is also a nice place to go with children to the playground or to picnic in a cozy atmosphere or to barbecue together. I was also skeptical at first, as there is an old cemetery in one part of the park, where you can picnic among tombstones, but this very corner is especially pleasantly quiet and cool on muggy and hot summer days.
If you have the opportunity to visit the auditorium of the university during a lecture or just like that, you should definitely use it! The courtyard is really classically beautiful as a small castle park and the auditorium itself and its entrance hall also an architectural feast for the eyes.
The New Town Hall on Hiroshimaplatz may not look as picturesque as the Old Town buildings, but the cafeteria gives you a good view.
Whether it is beautiful, is controversial, but worth seeing is the bicycle cemetery at the Göttingen train station, a collection of many, many bicycles, in which some are permanently parked until the next disposal operation. When I was a student, some people said to me: “If you are looking for a new bicycle, then just let us pick one up from the bicycle cemetery.” Of course, I did not do that, but of course there are regular auctions of well-preserved station bicycles, which are not anymore were picked up by their owner.
Likewise, a tower walk on Saturday afternoon at 12 o’clock to the St. John’s Church highly recommended, since the view is the most beautiful on the old town is. The north tower was formerly the watchtower and was used from 1921 as an airy dormitory. The local residents were allowed to live rent-free, but had to receive their little stay regularly public complaints. Today, in the former Türmer apartment, there is a small chapel where weddings and baptisms are also regularly celebrated.
A Göttingen story, which everyone should know about and perhaps even experienced live on many a Saturday, is the tower musician Marten Bock, who plays a small concert for the city every Saturday at 11 o’clock.
A short bike ride or just 10 minutes by car will take you to Plesse Castle. Not only the view of the castle or the ruins are beautiful, in general, the journey out of Göttingen is an event, if you come closer to the castle, which can also be seen from the highway in the direction of Hannover / Kassel. This starts with the serpentines, in which the road goes up to the castle ruin of the former Spornburg, which is located at 365 meters altitude. Even Goethe had visited this place in 1801, in addition to numerous cultural events and guided tours there is also a restaurant.
If this castle ruin is not enough: The remains of the Heroes’ Castle in Salzderhelden and The Castle Hardenberg invite you to visit directly in the area.
Göttingen has a great food culture and most of my time there I have actually spent time trying out new restaurants. An investment that you can afford is the Gaudi. When I was really in a bad mood, a friend spontaneously invited me there and what can I say? The food there is really looking for its like.
However, there is food for every budget in Göttingen. Very popular since years is the Nudelhaus, an institution for pasta dishes of all kinds with freshly made noodles from our own production at student friendly prices. Especially nice in good weather is the beer garden in the courtyard.
Vegans among you can find delicious vegan biscuits at the Weltladen Café. Their prices for fair trade coffee to go is really cheap and you have free and fast Wi-Fi there, can listen to world music and also buy fair trade food.
If you like sweets, you will love Cron and Lanz. The pastry shop with coffee house atmosphere is no different and is known for its numerous cake creations with Baumkuchen. In addition to these treats you can also find chocolates or goose-sweet chocolate as a souvenir for those who stayed at home.
Another insider tip is the monster café in the Goetheallee near the train station. There you get the most creative hot chocolate in the city, the Heiße Schokolade Kindergeburtstag. There are still so many secret places and insiders, but they would blow up any frame here.
If you go partying, you come from all corners of Göttingen and meet once in the city center. Popular hangouts are Gänselliesl, especially when Christmas market is. But Willi, Wilhelmsplatz or the navel, which is not far away, are also popular meeting places.
If you want to party properly, come to the Nautibar and its famous deep-sea diver cocktail. In good weather in summer, the courtyard of The Queen’s Head is a really nice place for lazy nights with cider and fine whiskey. And those who prefer it rustic, finds in the wedding a vault in the basement with a quaint atmosphere, but for me as a stopover serve as a full-evening location, because over time does not get the bad air.
Famous notorious and not fancy, but an integral part are two hotspots in the north and south of the city center. For those who do not want to go hungry, there is usually nothing to eat in small discos like the Alpenmax, the Exile or the Tangente. Therefore, there is the doner mile, which is especially well attended between 1 o’clock and 5 o’clock. In the south, however, there is the Deja Vu that usually only opens when other pubs close already. If you want to celebrate after the end in the disco, you can continue until brunch.
More than 31,000 students are currently at the University of Göttingen alone, so the cityscape of Lower Saxony’s fourth-largest city is shaped by student life.
Anyone visiting events in Göttingen from the university can also discover all sorts of things, which will surprise you or perhaps help you in case of doubt.
Too tired after the last party night or just broken from working in the library? There is a rest room with hammocks, bean bags, loungers and mattresses, his backpack and his shoes, just behind the SUB (state and university)
Theo Cafete is well-known for the fact that there are always vegan delicacies and a beautiful courtyard in the summer, where it is usually not as crowded as in the central cafeteria or the cafeteria at the tower. However, the canteen on the tower is really recommendable, because especially in summer you can eat outside and enjoy delicious dishes. In Göttingen there is a large selection and at least Turmmensa and Zentralmensa I have never had bad experiences with the food, in other cities was quite different. Also many external people who do not study or work at the university, come to the canteens for lunch, to eat there during their lunch break.
A small highlight for every culture fan is the Theater im OP, the student theater of the University of Göttingen. If you study here, you can even study in the theater and attend seminars on stage fighting, masking or scenic writing. In the old operating theater of the former surgical clinic there are 12 premieres per year according to the en-suite principle. Thus, it is considered one of the largest student theaters in Europe.